I love how much free content comes out around the Academy Awards. Recently, directors Paul Thomas Anderson (Licorice Pizza), Kenneth Branagh (Belfast), Jane Campion (The Power of the Dog), Steven Spielberg (West Side Story), and Denis Villeneuve (Dune) sat down for an in-depth conversation about their films that was curated and taped by the DGA.

Director Jeremy Kagan moderated the discussion for the 31st annual Meet the Nominees: Theatrical Feature Film Symposium. In this conversation, the directors give insight into their processes, share behind-the-scenes details of production, and reveal their methods for coping with anxiety. All valuable things! 

Check out this video from the Directors Guild of America, and let's talk after. 

I cannot imagine being in the audience listening to these legends discuss craft and technique.

Over these two and a half hours, the talks dive into the preparation and production of each of the features. While chatting, PTA revealed that the rehearsal scenes in Drive My Car actually helped his process for readying Licorice Pizza. It was interesting hearing how these icons take cues from one another and learn from other directors who may not have as much of a spotlight as themselves.

Spielberg discusses the precise visual rhythms of West Side Story with extensive storyboarding. His main tip is to see it all in your head and then put it on the page before you try to shoot it. He emphasized the collaborative effort and being tight with your crew to accomplish these things. 

Villeneuve told the story about how having a bad trip with his son helped him prep for Dune. This proves all life experiences can be adapted to the screen and can inform any of your projects.

Finally, Campion talks about how working with an actual dream coach. For her, this wound up being a monumentally valuable experience as a director.

What were your favorite parts? Let us know in the comments. 

Source: DGA